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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-18

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 18, 2003








  • [01] SIMITIS IN CYPRUS Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be traveling to Cyprus today, opening the round of Presidency visits to the capitals of the new member-states, after the accession treaty. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan did not rule out the possibility of undertaking a new initiative if he "makes sure there is political will", according to statements he made after his meeting with the Prime Minister. Mr. Simitis has called the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot parties to a meeting. R. Denktash answered negatively. Ankara

    expressed a dedication to the solution according to the statements of Prime Minister T. Erdogan and Foreign Minister Am. Gul.

  • [02] ECONOMY LOOKING UP AFTER THE WAR A de-escalation of inflation due to the drop in the price of oil was foreseen within the next month by the Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, during the briefing of the relevant Parliamentary Committee regarding the course of the economy and the consequences of the war. All those people that you say privatized the stock market for their own interests, are free? Why aren't measures being taken?, asked former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis.
  • [03] WORN OUT TIRES AND HIGH SPEEDS The bad state of the KTEL bus' tires and the slipperiness of the road caused the accident on the Aliakmonas river bridge which resulted in the death of 16 people, according to the findings of the specialists, who have found no evidence to support that th e bus crashed with another vehicle. Charges had been pressed against the driver of the truck ahead of the bus.
  • [04] ONE OUT OF EIGHT WAS ON DRUGS 12% of the people that died in car accidents, on who autopsies were carried out, were driving under the influence of drugs, according statements to the MPA by AUTh Medical School Professor Christos Smyrmos, who called on data from his service.
  • [05] GIANNIS LATSIS DEAD There was extensive coverage of the death of Greek businessman Giannis Latsis in the international press today, who died yesterday at the age of 93. He was the 14th of 15 children, became one of the most successful Greek businessmen whose activities over

    the last few years had past into the hands of his son, Spyros. "He was a good Greek, he had everything you wanted in a friend." The Minister of the Press characterized him as "an important personality". "He loved Greece passionately and was interested in

    it", stated former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis. Mr. Karamanlis sent a telegram expressing his condolences.

  • [06] HISTORIC SIMITIS VISIT TO CYPRUS Prime Minister Costas Simits' visit to Cyprus today as the President of the European Union, is of a historic and symbolic character.

    Mr. Simitis will depart for Nicosia from Athens this afternoon, and will have discussions with the Cypriot government on the preparations of the Summit Meeting and developments in the Cyprus issue. Tomorrow Mr. Simitis will meet with the leaders of the T urkish Cypriot parties, at the residency of the Greek Ambassador to Nicosia, after they accepted his invitation, although there was a negative response from the parties participating in the government of the pseudostate.

    The Cyprus issue is an international problem that must be solved within the general framework of the UN, stressed Mr. Simitis, immediately following his meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last night. He underlined that the Anna pan is a basis f or a solution, but it presupposes its acceptance by both sides, and the corresponding political will on the Turkish Cypriot side. "It is counterproductive to search for other paths" to resolve the Cyprus issue, he pointed out, adding that efforts for a vi able solution must continue on the Mr. Annan's proposal.

    The President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, characterized the signing of the treaty as "a historic moment for Cyprus, the most historic moment since the indepence", and he categorically stated that Cyprus' accession is not just a victory of the Greek Cypriot side over the Turkish Cypriot side. It is a victory for the whole of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots must benefit from the accession. The Cypriot National Council is already expected to make a series of decisions regarding the possibi lity of Turkish Cypriots working in free Cyprus, lifting limitations on tourist travel, etc.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was "forced" to congratulate Cyprus on its accession to the European Union.

    Mr. Gul congratulated Cypriot Government Spokesperson, Mr. Chrysostomidis, when he ran into him at the hotel in Athens where both delegations were staying.

    The President of the Cypriot Parliament, Dimitris Christofias, Foreign Minister Giorgos Iakovou, and other members of the Cypriot delegation were also present.

    The event was confirmed with statements made by the Cypriot Government Spokesperson.

  • [07] FINDINGS ON ALIAKMONAS AND TEMBI ACCIDENTS The bad condition of the KTEL bus tires in combination with the slipperiness of the road, were the causes of the accident on the Aliakmonas river bridge that caused the death of 16 passenger, according to the findings of the specialists.

    It was found that the condition of the tires, specifically the way in which they had been placed, with different hardness, due to "age", wear and difference in the height of the treads, resulted in dangerous driving and a decrease in the effectiveness of

    the breaks.

    However, Thessaloniki KTEL representatives questioned the point of the report mentioning the tires' condition.

    The bus had also been tampered with in order to indicate a lower speed than that it was actually traveling at, the so called "thief", which was not functioning at the time of the accident.

    According to the findings, there is nothing to indicate that there was a collision with another vehicle.

    Meanwhile, the findings of the report on the Tembi accident, in which 21 high school students were killed, will be delivered in 20 days at the latest.

    However, according to information, the accident was most probably caused by the metal poles holding the wooden planks the truck was carrying, in place.

    The overweight cargo of the truck and the pressure put on protective metal poles on the sides by the planks, made the poles bend.

    Initial findings in the truck show that it also had a "thief" installed, thus not indicating the correct speed, and that its tires were also worn.

  • [08] CHRISTODOULAKIS OPTIMISTIC ON GREEK ECONOMY The de-escalation of inflation within the next month, due to the drop in oil prices, was foreseen by the Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, during his briefing of the relevant Parliamentary Committee, regarding the course of the economy and the c onsequences of the war.

    Mr. Christodoulakis appeared optimistic that Greek economy will respond successfully, despite unfortunate international coincidences. His optimism was due to the fact that the front of inflations, despite heavy pressures, holds at 3.8%.

    "In March, inflation dropped to 3.4%, which was the lowest it dropped to last year, and that makes us optimistic", he noted characteristically.

    What also makes him smile at the future, is the fact that despite the very negative international juncture, with the increase of unemployment and inflation, Greece is increasing its productivity by 6 times as much as the eurozone average, and a further i ncrease of 2.5% is expected.

    Real salaries in our country increased by 3.1% when they increased by 0.5% in Europe, and they are estimated to increase by 2% in relation to the eurozone average of 0.8%.

    On the issue of unemployment he mentioned that 2003 would be a year of decrease, noting that over the past few years, whenever unemployment increases in the rest of Europe, there is a drop in Greece.

    As he pointed out, the most serious problem during the Iraq crisis was the 30% drop in tourist activity, but he added that that can be fully regained by the end of the war.

    Giorgos Alogoskoufis, in charge of financial issues for ND, underlined that the key to development can be found in structural changes, which, however, the government is not carrying out.

    There was also harsh criticism towards the government from honorary President of ND, Constantinos Mitsotakis, who stressed the issue of the stock market.

    "Answer us Mr. Minister. Are all those individuals who you yourself have said used the stock market to their own interest, walking free? Why are you not taking measures", he asked, while adding:

    "He must know who "played" the stock market and who won. Scandals flare up with the initiative of your own people today. Why are you not taking any initiative?"

    "The past cannot be erased", said Mr. Mitsotakis in closing.

  • [09] PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE IN THESSALONIKI The President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, is in Thessaloniki today, on occasion of the fraternization of the Municipality of Thessaloniki with the Municipality of Dnipropetrofsk, as well as for the Greek-Ukrainian economic forum, organized by the two coun tries' professional-small industry chambers.

    Mr. Kuchma was greeted by Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis at the "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki at 11am. Mr. Kuchma then went to the City Hall for the signing ceremony of the fraternization of two cities, while he will speak at the economic forum later.

    This afternoon, Mr. Paschalidis will hold a luncheon in the Ukrainian President's honor, while Mr. Kuchma will leave for Ukraine later in the afternoon.

  • [10] G. PAPANDREOU: SATISFACTION WITH ATHENS MEETINGS Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou stated that he was satisfied with the two-day informal European Council and the enlarged European Conference in Athens.

    All foreign leaders were satisfied with the presence in Athens, the hospitality and the results, as there were essential discussions and the Statement of the Greek Presidency on Iraq, he said to "Flash" radio.

    Regarding Iraq, he stressed that an informal meeting of Foreign Ministers of the European Union will be held in Greece soon, in order to discuss the role of the UN and the EU in the "next day" in more detail. Conditions of greater security are necessary in Iraq, in order for us to look into what we can do, he said, while to a question on the "central role" mentioned in the Statement of the Greek Presidency, he stressed that that is an issue of negotiation within the UN and with the US.

    On Turkey's position concerning the Cyprus issue, he stated that there has been no significant move from positions to action, while regarding Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, he said that his position is still an obstacle.

    Whether or not Turkey will remain in a European orbit, is always a question, but powers within Turkey that want a European course were given a chance to promote themselves at Helsinki. It is important to Greece that Ankara's European course be strengthen ed.

    As far as Mr. Simitis' visit to Cyprus is concerned, he stressed that his schedule remains as is so far, and includes meetings with Turkish Cypriot party leaders.

    On UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he pointed out that he is willing to make another effort to resolve the Cyprus issue, but he set political will to do so from both sides, as a prerequisite.

  • [11] DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE Approximately 12% of the people killed in car accidents, on whom autopsies were carried our, were driving under the influence of drugs.

    The above was mentioned to the Macedonian Press Agency in an interview with alternate professor at the AUTh Medical School Christos Syrmos, calling on information from the Coroner's Service.

    Mr. Syrmos was thus in favor of the drug test also being administered by traffic police authorities, apart from alcohol test. "This method is based on urine and blood samples and is broadly used in the US and Great Britain", he said, adding that the adop tion of this measure would contribute to the lowering of traffic accidents.

    Meanwhile, in research he carried out on traffic accidents, which he presented at the 2nd Scientific Conference of the AUTh Medical School, Mr. Syrmos underlined that traffic accidents are the most serious cause of death among people aged 15-24.

  • [12] VENIZELOS: THE OLYMPICS WILL BEGIN IN THESSALONIKI ON AUGUST 11 Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos had a meeting with a delegation of directing officials of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee. The main issue discussed at the meeting was the coordination of their actions and the checking of variou s programs prior to their completion.

    However, Mr. Venizelos revealed that the Olympics will begin in Thessaloniki on August 11, 2004, with the football games. "The Olympic Games will begin in Thessaloniki and will offer the image of the Olympics to the whole world. Essentially, it will be t he first impression made by the Olympics", stressed Mr. Venizelos, to continue: "We want everything to be functioning flawlessly. For Thessaloniki, 2004 will set the groundwork for (the EXPO) 2008. It is the great challenge in which we must succeed. The G eneral Secretariat of the Games has dealt with all bodies and made all necessary contacts. Also, issues such as accommodations, accreditation, the Press Office, volunteerism, doping and other issues. The results of the meetings were satisfactory. In order

    to succeed we want active participation of all bodies, while all choices on crucial issues have been made".

    Regarding volunteerism, Mr. Venizelos stressed: "Volunteerism is moving along at a satisfactory rate." "It is very important that we have volunteer doctors and nursing staff, which will be very useful. We will try to take advertisements off the streets, pay attention to cleanliness and beautify our kiosks".

    Finally, he referred to the greatest problem Thessaloniki has to face. "The greatest problem is traffic. We want to solve this problem. With proper policing, good traffic lights and sigh posts, and adequate parking spaces, the problem will be solved to a

    great degree. And they will have more positive results that a the tube and the underwater tunnel."

  • [13] PASCHALIDIS: GREECE IS ON UKRAINE'S SIDE Greece supports Ukraine's efforts to become part of the European Union structures, stressed Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis, who gave a formal luncheon in honor of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the government delegation accompanying

    him in his visit to Thessaloniki. Mr. Paschalidis reminded that the first EU-Ukraine association agreement was signed in 1994 when the rotating EU Presidency was again held by Greece.

    On the occasion of yesterday's European Conference in Athens, he pointed out that the divisions that were left behind by WWII are, in essence, overcome and "together we form a society of values". The whole European continent can be a single economic spac e with respect to the special multi-cultural characteristics of each country, said Mr. Paschalidis.

    Mr. Paschalidis said that the draft plan of the new constitutional treaty of Europe will be presented in Thessaloniki in June 2003. He said that "we want a strong and effective Europe not only at an economic but at a social and political level". He also referred to the fact that over 200.000 Greeks live in Ukraine, mainly in the region of Mariupolis, and added that there is room for further development of the economic and trade relations between Greece and Ukraine.

  • [14] THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE HONORARY CITIZEN OF THESSALONIKI Thessaloniki's City Council declared Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma honorary citizen of Thessaloniki and Mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos honored him with the city's Gold Medal in a formal ceremony held in the City Hall at noon today.

    During the ceremony, Thessaloniki Mayor Papageorgopoulos and Dnipropetrovsk Mayor Ivan Kulitsienko signed, in the presence of President Kuchma, an agreement for the twinning and cooperation of the two cities.

    The Mayor of Thessaloniki pointed out that Greece and Ukraine are linked with century-old ties, cultural, historical and religious. He praised the personality of Mr. Kuchma and pledged to support a close cooperation between Thessaloniki and Dnipropetrovs k.

    The Ukrainian President thanked the Mayor of Thessaloniki for the honor made to him and assured that he will personally watch the materialization of the twinning agreement, stressing that Dnipropetrovsk is the city where he grew up.

    The Mayor of Dnipropetrovsk stressed that the two cities have a lot in common (population, size, etc.) and expressed the belief that the cooperation with the city of Thessaloniki will be mutually beneficial.

  • [15] POSITIVE RESPONSE BY DUISENBERG TO SIMITIS' LETTER The European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg gave a positive response to the letter by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis, who was asking him to remain in his position until the new ECB President takes over his dutie s after he is elected.

    In a letter sent to the President of the Council in February 2002, the president of the European Central Bank Mr. Duisenberg made known his intention of retiring from his position on 9 July 2003, before his term ended. In the same letter, Mr. Duisenberg said that he would be disposed, if he were asked, to prolong his stay in order to facilitate the smooth transition to the next presidency.

    In the face of developments from then on and following consultations with the other member-states of the Eurozone, Mr. Simitis send a letter to Mr. Duisenberg asking him to prolong his term till the new president is elected in office.

    Mr. Duisenberg replied that he accepts the proposal and thanked Mr. Simitis for the confidence of the European Council.

  • [16] MEASURES TO ATTRACT FOREIGN INVESTORS TO UKRAINE The Greek businessmen appear hesitant toward the Ukrainian market as the high import tariffs and the bureaucratic obstacles continue to put a break to the trade and investment activity, while the absence of a regular sea-line between Thessaloniki and Ode ssa makes the transport of goods difficult.

    However, Ukraine is expected to climb many steps on the list with the preferences of the Greek businessmen in the following years. As it was made known today by Ukrainian Finance Minister Mr. Choroshkovsky, the Kiev government appears determined to lift many of the counter-incentives that discourage investors.

    The Ukrainian official stressed that the taxes on investments will be cut by 20% in 2004, while import tariffs will be limited to 15% from 20% they are today. Furthermore, measures will be adopted against bureaucracy, while the Ukrainian Parliament has a pproved a long-term strategy plan for economic growth. Productivity is expected to be increased by 6-7% in 2003 and by 8% in 2004.

    Also, the considerable size of the Ukrainian market -51 million consumers- and the fact that the country gave a European orientation to its policy are expected to gradually change the scene preparing the ground for the development of profitable business plans.

    According to figures presented by the President of Thessaloniki's Commerce and Industry Chamber, Mr. Dimitris Bakatselos, who opened the proceedings of the Greek-Ukrainian business forum in Thessaloniki, the Greek exports to Ukraine reached 78 million e uros in 2002 compared to the Ukrainian exports that reached 325 million euros. Also, the Greek investments in Ukraine are no more than 60-70, with an estimated value at 140 million euros.

  • [17] PROTOPAPAS ON POWELL'S STATEMENT "We are happy with the statement made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell that Turkey should meet the Copenhagen criteria", stressed Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas and reiterated that Turkey has nothing to gain by continuing to display intransigence which is an obstacle to its interests.

    Mr. Protopapas also stressed that Turkey should get rid of views like those expressed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and it should review its stance and contribute to the fair solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nat ions.

  • [18] ARMENIA'S TASNAK PARTY PRESIDENT VISITS THE GREEK PARLIAMENT Armenia's TASNAK Party President Armen Rustamian, who visited Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis accompanied by members of the National Armenian Committee in Greece, expressed the joy and satisfaction of the Armenian Parliament and the Armen ian people for the historic event of Cyprus' EU accession.

    Mr. Rustamian congratulated the Parliament President for the successful way the Greek EU Presidency is held and the excellent organizing of the EU enlargement Summit meeting in Athens.

    Mr. Kaklamanis underlined the old and strong ties between the Greek and the Armenian people and stressed the importance of Cyprus' accession into the European structures both for the security of the Cyprus Republic and the favorable conclusion of the eff orts for the solution of the Cyprus problem. He also referred to the very good relations shared by the two Parliaments, pointing out that there is room for further improvement at a bilateral and international level.

    Mr. Kaklamanis expressed Greece's support to Armenia's efforts for the reconstruction of its economy and the development of democratic institutions which will be the basic factors in its successful course to the European Union.

  • [19] EU JUSTICE TROIKA MEETING WITH THE WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIES The first ministerial level meeting of the EU Justice and Interior Affairs Troika with the western Balkan countries as well as, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, will take place in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, April 22.

    The meeting is held within the framework of the Greek EU Presidency and Greece will be represented by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrisochoidis.

    In the meeting will be discussed, among others, ways to combat organized crime in the region of southeastern Europe as well as, issues concerning asylum, immigration and the cooperation between the European Union and Balkan countries.

    In the meeting will participate the representatives of the EU Troika countries, as well as representatives from Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM and representatives of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.


  • [20] SIMITIS IS ON A VISIT TO CYPRUS Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis arrived in Cyprus today for a 24-hour visit. Mr. Simitis and the Greek delegation were received at Larnaca International Airport by the Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The visit of Mr. Simitis to Cyprus is the first he makes to the new EU member states as the President of the European Council.

    Later today, Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos will give a formal dinner in honor of the Greek Prime Minister.

    Tomorrow, Mr. Simitis will have talks with the Cyprus Republic President and then he will have a meeting with all the political party leaders represented in Parliament.

    He will visit the Cypriot Parliament to meet with Parliament President Dimitris Christofias and he will address the Parliament plenary session.

    Tomorrow afternoon, Mr. Simitis will meet with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and the hierarchy of the Church of Cyprus.

  • [21] SIMITIS: THE EFFORTS FOR THE SOLUTION OF THE CYPRUS PROBLEM WILL CONTINUE The assurance that the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem will continue was given by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis speaking upon his arrival at the Larnaca International Airport in Cyprus. Cyprus is the fi rst stop of Mr. Simitis' tour of European capitals in view of the preparations for the Thessaloniki Summit meeting in June.

    Referring to the Turkish Cypriot community, the Greek Prime Minister underlined that the efforts will continue within the framework of the United Nations for a viable and operational solution to the Cyprus problem.

    A large crowd gathered outside the Larnaca Airport to welcome the Greek Prime Minister, while reception ceremonies were planed to take place in many points along the way to Nicosia.

    Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos welcomed Mr. Simitis to the "European Cyprus" and thanked him characterizing him as the architect of the European course of Cyprus, while he also expressed the gratitude of his people.

    Cyprus got the place it deserves historically, stressed Mr. Simitis responding to Mr. Papadopoulos and again he blamed the Turkish Cypriot side for the collapse of the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

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